Frances Easterbrook Burkes
May 7th,1938 – November 13th, 2023
Frances (Fran) Easterbrook Burkes died peacefully in the early morning hours on November 13, 2023 at the
care home Holy Spirit in Ukiah, California, a week after a debilitating stroke. She had been a resident for the
past eight years. Her husband Richard (Dick) Burkes, who had also been a resident there, had died in
November 2022. College sweethearts, their marriage began in 1959 while seniors at College of the Pacific
Fran, as she preferred to be called, was born in Palo Alto, California, on May 7, 1938, the first-born child of
Harold Clement Easterbrook and Louise Kennedy Easterbrook. Her early years in Palo Alto were disturbed by
Pearl Harbor and the US entry into World War II. Harold volunteered to serve in the Navy, joining the naval
operations in the South Pacific. Louise coped as best she could now with three young children. Reunited at the
end of the war, the family moved to Cupertino, California where Harold pursued an occupation of farming. Fran
gained two more siblings. An outgoing person, Fran made friends with the families of the Mexican and
Japanese workers on the farm. She loved country living that offered such unique adventures as flying low over
the strawberry fields in the crop duster’s small plane. Rabbits and a dairy cow were among the animals she
raised that added to the farm’s menagerie. She assisted with chores, became immersed in 4-H and Girl
Scouts, and competed successfully with riding and other sports. She particularly enjoyed the freedom of
exploration by horseback in the open countryside, wooded hills, and bountiful orchards of Santa Clara County
before it became Silicon Valley.
Following graduation from Los Gatos High School, Fran attended College of the Pacific in Stockton joining the
Delta Gamma sorority and enjoying the school’s social life. She majored in physical education. After college
graduation she and Dick moved to Walnut Creek where Fran became a P.E. teacher at Clayton Valley High
School. After a move back to Stockton, Fran continued teaching in Lodi before their first son Dean was born in
1964. The birth of their second child, Brian, occurred in 1968. Dick’s business advancements brought them to
new homes and communities in San Jose, then a big move to Illinois, and back to California in Villa Park. With
all these moves Fran found great neighbors and friends. Dick’s retirement brought them to be near Fran’s
family in Redwood Valley, California.
Besides focusing on parenting responsibilities, Fran explored creative opportunities in sewing, crafts, and other
art forms, often taking classes at community colleges that offered challenges and enhanced her skills. Other
interests included gardening which she shared with Dick on their place in Redwood Valley. Her love for
animals continued with cats and especially several wonderful dogs. She even officially adopted a desert
tortoise when they lived in Villa Park.
Fran and Dick would get out to see more of the world. For a number of years they would travel to a community
near San Felipe, Mexico where they would stay for several months at a time enjoying warm beaches and
Mexican culture and making a new set of friends. Other travel adventures took them to Europe, China, Tibet,
Australia, New Zealand and Panama.
Fran surprised herself and others by living well into her eighties despite several treatments for breast cancer
and other ailments. Certainly she would credit this to the loving support she received from family and friends
along with caring physicians and the devotion of her canine companions. Fran and Dick greatly appreciated
the care given by the owners of Holy Spirit, Perla and Genaro Gonzalez, and their staff who treated them like
friends and family.
Fran leaves behind her sons, Dean and Brian (Jody), grandchildren Jordan, Adam, Rachel, and Sarah Burkes,
siblings Marti (Jerry) Aikman, Lucy (Larry) MacLeitch, Cathy Monroe, and Tim Easterbrook, and numerous nephews, nieces
and their offspring.